Urge the USDA to Protect Captive Bears!

brown bear

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) still hasn't enacted stronger regulatory protection for bears. It had previously delayed opening PETA's petition to help suffering captive bears for public comment for more than a year and only sought public comment after PETA filed a lawsuit over the agency's delay. Now, it's been more than one year since the comment period closed, and bears continue to suffer as a result of inadequate regulations. We need your help to make sure that the USDA enacts stronger regulations for captive bears without further delay!

Bears, who have natural ranges of up to thousands of miles in the wild, are being kept in cramped cages and concrete pits at deplorable roadside facilities across the country that exhibit the animals for profit while disregarding their most basic needs. Many bears at roadside zoos spend most of their waking hours pacing, head-butting the cages, and engaging in other abnormal behavior that is indicative of suffering—all because the USDA has disregarded the space, enrichment, dietary, and behavioral needs of captive bears, who recent studies show are just as complex and intelligent as primates. The USDA currently allows bears to be kept in conditions that constitute cruelty to animals. In fact, a North Carolina judge found that Jambbas Ranch, a roadside zoo, committed illegal cruelty to animals by forcing a bear named Ben to live in a concrete and chain-link dog run that USDA inspectors found acceptable. The judge entered an order allowing PETA to transfer Ben to a reputable sanctuary immediately so that he could be provided with a naturalistic habitat and qualified care.

While Ben is thriving in his new 2-acre natural habitat—which has oak trees, grass, hills, and a swimming pool—hundreds of bears across the country will continue to suffer in substandard conditions unless the USDA implements rules that specifically address the unique and complex needs of captive bears.

Please urge the USDA to implement regulations without further delay requiring that captive bears be provided with adequate space, enrichment, naturalistic habitats, nutritious diets, and opportunities to den, explore, run, bathe, and engage in other behavior that is necessary for a bear's physical and psychological well-being. A sample letter is provided below, but it is always most effective to use your own words.


Dear [Decision Maker],

[Your Name]

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